Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Teo

Social Dominance Theory

  • Gazi IslamEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5583-7_288


Social Dominance Theory (SDT; e.g., Sidanius & Pratto, 1999) is an attempt to combine social psychological theories of intergroup relations with wider social process of ideology and the legitimization of social inequalities. SDT begins with the premise that most societies contain status hierarchies, with some groups systematically privileged over other groups. Thus, SDT has been used to explain the persistent inequalities of groups based on gender, race, and other marginalized social categories.


SDT is a theory of social and intergroup relations that focuses on how people develop hierarchy supporting belief structures as a support for institutional dominance. It involves studies of who is likely to hold such attitudes, how they come to do so, and what are the ramifications for thought and action.


Legitimizing myth; ideology; hierarchy; social psychology of prejudice

Traditional Debates

According to SDT, a combination of political conservatism,...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Grenoble Ecole de Management and Insper Institute for Education and ResearchGrenobleFrance